What can the Flyers expect out of Jaromir Jagr?



When the Philadelphia Flyers signed Jaromir Jagr, my initial reaction was that it was just another crazy transaction from Paul Holmgren, who has been the summer’s most talked-about General Manager.

As crazy as giving a one-year, $3.3M deal to a 39-year old forward who has not played an NHL game since 2008 sounds, Jagr has quietly put up some terrific numbers for Omsk in the KHL over the last three seasons.

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I generally try to stay away from the “saw him good” territory, but I had the chance to see the Czech Republic play against Slovakia in the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament. Jagr had a goal (I forget the circumstance, unfortunately) but mainly he was the type of player that, when he touched the puck, there was a buzz in the building, as if every fan knew they were potentially about to watch something special.

That’s my only visual on Jagr over the past few years, but a friend of mine, and Russian hockey journalist Andrey Osadchenko, told me that Jagr “was deservedly regarded as one of the best forwards in the league” although “it needs to be said that European-sized surfaced made it probably easier for Jagr to look good. He still positions himself well, hard to get knocked off the puck and sees the ice terrifically. But when the game picks up a pace, Jagr doesn’t really tag along.”

Having said that, I’ve got to add that it wouldn’t come to me as a big surprise if he notched up 25 goals and 70 points this season.”

The former Penguin and world-famous mullet put up a nice little KHL career. In three seasons, his game, goal and point total were as follows:

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2009 55 25 53
2010 51 22 42
2011 49 19 51

If you stretch that over an 82 game season and apply the old Russian Super League projection offered at Gabriel Desjardins’ site (currently, no KHL projection exists), Jagr’s adjusted point totals per an 82 game season are as follows:

  NHL G/82 NHL Pts/82
2009 31 66
2010 29 56
2011 26 71

I looked up all the players who had at least 25 NHL goals at 36, 37 and 38. They are:

John Bucyk
Gordie Howe
Brett Hull
Jean Ratelle

All four all Hall of Famers, and Jagr is also expected to be. Now, though I am using adjusted numbers for Jagr, Hockey Reference doesn’t allow me to search all the players who had an adjusted total of 25 goals in their 36th, 37th and 38th years. What is important is that other than Hull, who dipped from 37 to 25 goals the next season, none of the three players experienced much of a year-to-year dip. In fact, Gordie Howe scored 14 more goals the next year in just five more games.

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In fact, there are just as many 25 goal scorers at 39 as there are at 38. They’re all fantastic names, too. Jean Beliveau, Joe Nieuwendyk, Teemu Selanne, legendary goal scorers all, who were talented and durable enough to sustain moderate-to-high production throughout their careers. This is part of the mould that Jaromir Jagr belongs to. He’s at 646 career goals, and could have potentially cracked 700 had he stayed in the NHL.

It’s an odd way to put a forward corps together, and I’ve certainly been critical of certain moves made by Paul Holmgren this offseason, but Jaromir Jagr is a value signing, near risk-free at just one year for a player who is likely to crack the 20-goal barrier for the 18th time in his NHL career.

  • Horcsky

    Sorry, but I don’t think watching one game in the 2010 Olympic tournament — a game in which you say you don’t recall the goal Jagr scored — remotely approaches “saw him good” territory.

    Saw him good, at least my definition of it, means watching a player day in and day out in game and practice situations over the course of long stretches — often multiple seasons — to get a complete picture of skill-set, work ethic, focus, attention to detail etc etc.

    A one-game glance in concert with old video or recollections of the player Jagr was seven, eight or even 10 years ago does not represent an accurate indication of what he is now.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Robin I think you were right in May of 09 http://oilersnation.com/2009/5/1/ncfom-ii-jagr-revisited/page/2 and now it is even more true. If a sunset player wants to “come home” and mentor the young guys on the team such as #94 has done I am all for it and if Jagr came to Mario and asked to finish his career where it all started for say 2M I would say “What a classy move by both men. Jagr for being willing to show the young men on the team what commitment and work ethic are all about not to mention respect for the game, the Jersey and those who you played with. and Mario for allowing the Pens Fans to say goodbye. But to sign with an Arch-Rival for big bucks is about “me” not team. (I know he may have tried to sign with the Pens and we may not know that) This is so antithetical to what Smyth just did that in my mind #68 just lost a little luster.

      • Greg Stink | ESPN

        “Saw him good, at least my definition of it, means watching a player day in and day out in game and practice situations over the course of long stretches — often multiple seasons — to get a complete picture of skill-set, work ethic, focus, attention to detail etc etc.”

        That might be your definition, but it’s not mine, as I pointed out. If mine differs from the common internet jargon, so be it.

    • Death Metal Nightmare

      he actually looked really good in the Olympics, for his age, outside of getting hammered by Ovechkin. which he got up from immediately.

      whatever, for 3.3 million he’ll probably play better than Shawn Horcoff for his role. whoops.

      and who really cares where he plays? Philly, Burgh? its really no difference. fans forget about things and whine about things every other second. theyll get over it. guys like Jagr and Favre can go play wherever the hell they want if they still enjoy playing. keeping everything “ideal” and “romantic” is boring and not realistic. in some ways, the Oilers need to learn that lesson about their own history.

  • Mantastic

    No but seriously, 2nd to who?

    Both Smytty (who last season didn’t have a mullet) can be considered, as well as RyJo28, whose glorious locks have given me a perpetual boner*

    *boner – french, for “boner”

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I really will not be shocked to see a total bust here his numbers were falling in the KHL and with the NHL player having less room and therefore getting to you faster I expect his numbers will drop. I expect less than 20 goals I could be totally wrong but I expect the transition back will be very hard. Yes Howe etc did play in later years but the game is totally different now. Some one has to be a work out nut to be even remotely good in this league. Just glad he is not an Oiler. In recent years the players who have played well after 39 have mostly been D-men who know how to manage the zone. Jagr may surprise me and notch 30 goals + and if he does I will not only be impressed but in awe.

  • Ender

    All I know is, if Tambellini had signed Jagr to a 1-year $3.3M contract, I would be a sad panda. If Holmgren really thinks that Jagr is going to be the piece that puts him over the top and brings home Stanley, well . . . I guess I admire his optimism.

  • John Chambers

    I watched Ovechkin drill Jagr right at Centre ice during the Olympic tournament, and watched Russia turn the puck up the ice and score seconds later. It was like a nail being driven in saying that Jagr was done and wouldn’t hack it in what has become a younger, faster NHL.

    I say he puts up about 50-55 points.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      Oh you were at that game? That’s right! You actually got to go to that one.

      I remember the hit, you could feel the sweat aerosolize straight off Jagr’s head from the force of the hit in the stands. In the words of Mr. Chambers, “Move over Jagr! There’s a new generation taking over.”

      I think he’ll put up 8 goals (20 pts) and get placed on IR in December due to menstral complications.

  • justDOit

    If Jagr has to play tough minutes, I think he’s done for. If they can shelter him within the lineup (and really – Philly still has loads of depth), I think he’ll be ok. But with that sheltering comes limited ice time.

    So if he plays 2nd/3rd line minutes, but is on the first power play, he could do pretty well. I say 55 points +/- 5.

  • Greg Stink | ESPN

    I was all for the Jagr to Edmonton rumours at the time (2 years ago?). It would have made some ugly games worth watching.

    This time around, I was just hoping to see him go back to Pittsburgh.

    Disappointing to see him sign with Philly. It would have been good to watch him on the Penguins, and he would have faced a lot less criticism than he will now. It could get ugly for him if things don’t start well in Philly.

    I still think he will put up 60 points, 25 goals.

  • Scuba Steve

    Stretching a 55 game season out into 80 games expecting comparable results is ridiculous! Do you really think that after playing 3 years of 55 games or less, he will be effective for an entire 80 game season in a more physical, faster league?

    You’re kidding yourself if you think it translates like that.

    Also “But when the game picks up a pace, Jagr doesn’t really tag along.”

    Does that sound like someone who will be able to compete well in a faster league with less ice available to him? Doesn’t sound like it to me.

  • fuck off

    Sheldon, you are an idiot. How is what Ryan Smyth did at all admirable. He demanded a trade and left his team with zero negotiating leverage. Smyth doesn’t want to play in Edmonton because of the Oilers. All he wants is to be living in Alberta. An admirable thing to do for a player of his age would be to want to win a cup. He clearly has zero interest in doing this or he wouldn’t be an Oiler.